Besan ka Chila ~ gram flour crepes

Happy Makar Shankranti to all !!

Chickpea Flour Crepes

“Besan ka CHILA” was a frequent in our breakfasts/eve snacks during childhood. My mom makes them very beautifully and fast. Appetizing and healthy!! I used to make them once in a while earlier but after making 2-3 crepes, I used to loose interest and got irritated. I never could make thin and round and they used to stick to the pan. What made the matter worse was, they never came out in 1 piece. Grrrr!! Each crepe used to break either while turning upside down or while taking off to plate. Alas!!

But now, when I have another member who needs something healthy and new day by day, I gave up my fear for the failure and tried again. And to sheer surprise, after a few trials, I perfected it (well almost!).

The secret is, a proper consistency, no lumps, properly heated and greased griddle. Once you get the batter with right consistency, which should be similar to dosa batter, spread a ladle full of it on hot tawa, immediately spread using the same ladle or tilt the griddle in all directions to spread. Once done, spread your choice of topping. Spray/brush some oil around the edges to not let it stick. This ensures the crepe to leave the surface properly once cooked. A thick crepe will take more time and chances are, the besan may not be cooked completely.

To speed up the process, my mom uses 2 tawas. Once the crepe is cooked from 1 side, she will spread it upside down on the other hot greased tawa. And, place another ladle full of besan batter on the first one. But this needs practice.

All said and done, time to switch to the method.

Besan Ka Chila

Time: 30 mins or even less.

Serves: 4-5 crepes

Ingredients:

    1.5 cup besan / chickpea flour/ gram flour
    1.5 cup warm water
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 green chilies, finely chopped, adjust per your taste
    1 tsp. ajwain/ carom seeds
    handful chopped coriander leaves
    1 tsp. jeera powder (optional)  
    salt per taste
    oil for preparing the crepes.

Preparation:

    Mix besan and water, water in 2-3 batches gradually for a proper consistency with all other ingredients except oil. The batter should have a consistency similar to dosa, a slight thinner would also go.
    Beat and mix well until lumps are removed.
    Rest it for 15 mins and mix again. This step ensures the removal of all lumps.
    Heat a heavy griddle/nonstick tawa.
    Pour and spread 1 tsp. oil. Pour a ladle full of besan batter and spread in clockwise direction to get a thin crepe. 
    Pour few drops of oil around the edges and on top.
    Cover and cook on a low to med-low flame.
    Once the edges leave the surface of griddle, use a spatula and delicately flip the crepe upside down.
    Cover and cook again for 2 mins.
    Serve with your fav chutney/dip or sauce.
    Relish!!

Notes:

It is a good idea to prepare a paratha on the tawa first so the the griddle is greased properly and the 1st crepe will not stick to it. Alternately, you can brush some oil on tawa, heat it and clean using a paper towel.

You can spread chopped onions over the crepe like we do for uttapam, instead of adding it in the batter. This allows smooth spreading of the crepe.

The batter should be of similar consistency of dosa.

To remove the lumps, another good idea is to mix besan and water, beat well and pass it through a steel wired sieve. Then mix in all the other ingredients.

Spread crumbled paneer on the top before flipping the crepe. This adds some more nutritional value. Adding methi leaves/ kasuri methi is a good flavor enhancement. Adding some black salt improves the taste. Remember to adjust the common salt accordingly.

Be patient, if you don’t get good crepes initially. You will perfect the process gradually.

Besan ka Chila

 

Because this recipe is something, I learnt many times from my mom (over phone and face to face) and succeeded only recently (I know, it might be very easy for many of you to perfect a crepe/chila/dosa, I am one exception!!), I really owe a big thank to her for her patience. So, sending this to the event dedicated to honor MOMs organized by PureVegetarianBites to honor my mom’s love to me.

mom1

Tandoori Aloo

Tandoori Aloo 

Potatoes, who doesn’t love them? A very few, those few are exceptions. Potato is a universal food, be it french fries of Belgium, jacket potatoes  worldwide or the very desi spicy jhol wala aloo. Hubby loves them. In his bread rolls, he wants them spicy. In jhol wali sabjee, he likes them with a runny simple tomato gravy, no onions, no garlics. The every day poha has to have not just properly cooked but browned slices. But, remember, few are exceptions. ME!! (don’t give me this dirty look, plz). I don’t like them much for what ever reason you say, to avoid fat or the creamy bland taste, it’s just not appealing my senses. But, I have to keep him happy Winking smile and cook his fav, the king of all veggies, every once in a while. So bored with the usual aloo I was, I thought of giving it a twist and cooked it paneer tikka style.

Crispy Grilled Aloo

The outer crunch so contrasts with soft inner part and marinade allows the spices to seep in and creates a finger licking flavor. I simply loved the aroma of kasoori methi. The alluring pieces suit for both, a side dish or an appetizer.

Time: approx 18 mins to Grill + 1 hr. of marinating + 10 mins of preparation

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. hung curd
  • 1 tsp. kasoori methi
  • 1 tsp. amchoor
  • 1.5 tbsp. cornflour
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder/chili flakes
  • (1/2 tsp. garam masala + 1/2 tsp. chaat masala) or 1 tbsp. tandoori masala  + some chaat masala to sprinkle
  • 4-5 drops of regular oil
  • 1 tbsp. freshly crushed/grated ginger-garlic
  • 1 tsp. white sesame seeds. (optional, I like them every now n then in my dishes)
  • salt to taste
  • freshly chopped coriander for garnish

Preparation:

  • Par boil the potatoes, boiling for about 4 mins in microwave worked for me. The potatoes should be just fork tender but not mushy.
  • Peel off and cut each potatoes in 6-8 similar sized cubes. Prick the cubes once, carefully with a toothpick.
  • Mix all the stuff except potatoes, coriander and portion of chaat masala in curd and mix well.
  • Mix in the potato cubes and coat the marinade well on the pieces. Using hands really works better than any spoon. Spoon turns out to be a havoc for the timid potato cubes.
  • Refrigerate the bowl of potatoes for almost 45-60 mins.
  • Now, arrange the potatoes in a grill proof plate/tray. My MWO has a big multipurpose tray to serve the grill/bake purpose.
  • Be careful that the potatoes are set in a single layer.
  • Grill for 10 mins or until the edges turn brown. 
  • Turn the potato cubes up side down or the grilled side down and grill again for 5 mins. Mine took 18 mins totally.
  • Take out the potatoes, sprinkle some chaat masala and chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve as evening snack or as side dish in lunch/dinner.
  • Relish!!

Tandoori Aloo

Pasta in mushroom Sauce

I like pasta. Whatever you do with it, it will still be in an edible shape. I like it in tomato base, in the white sauce or as a salad. It is so versatile, that I wanted to try some other new version of it and I stumbled on Deesha’s post. I have tweaked her version to suit me but the basic idea is to have a creamy mushroom sauce for the pasta.

Mushroom Pasta

A yummy breakfast Platter

 

Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce

Pasta in mushroom Sauce

This pasta in mushroom sauce is so flavorful and simple to do, even my husband has approved it, though he is no mushroom fan. It is now him who asks for it once in a while. So, let us quickly cook up a yummy pasta.

Time: 35-40 mins or even less.

Serves: 2

Source: Deesha’s Farfalle in Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients:

    Pasta – 1 cup, boiled till al dente, I used fusilli variety, any other should also go well
    button mushrooms – 100 gms.
    onion – 1 medium sized
    basil leaves – 2-3
    garlic pods – 4-5
    milk – 50 ml
    cream – 1 tbsp. (optional – I skipped it this time, but trust me, it gives a very rich texture to the sauce)
    butter – 1/2 tbsp.
    salt to taste
    black pepper – as per your taste
    shredded cheese – for topping the pasta
    oregano – 1 tsp. 
    some chopped coriander leaves for garnish.
    water

Preparation:

    Boil the pasta in a heavy bottom pan till al dente with some drops of oil and drain, refresh under cold running water and keep aside for draining the excess water.
    Heat butter in a pan. Add basils, garlic pods, sliced onions and sliced mushrooms.
    Sauté on high till the water of mushroom evaporates and onions and mushrooms turn golden brown.
    Add salt and pepper. Add cream if you are using it.
    Remove from flame and pour this in a mixer.
    Add milk and make a puree of mushroom – onion mixture.
    Now pour this sauce in a baking dish. The sauce should not be too thick or runny. Refer to the picture above.
    Add some water if required.
    Mix in the pasta and oregano in the sauce properly. Sprinkle some salt and mix. You can add chili flakes and pepper too. I avoided too much chilies to have a mild pasta for my daughter too.  
    Mix and top with shredded cheese.
    Preheat the oven at 180 C. For cooking on gas, see notes. Place the pasta in oven and bake for 10-12 mins or until cheese turns light brown.
    Remove and garnish with coriander leaves.
    Relish!! With your fav juice and cheese toast.

Fusilli in Mushroom Sauce

To kick start the morning

Mushroom Sauce and Fusilli

Notes:

Par boiled veggies of your choice can be added in pasta while baking.

To cook on gas, simply pour the sauce in the same pan and simmer for 5 mins. Add pasta and grated cheese and mix. Cook for 2 more mins.

al dente – cooking till firm but not hard.

Bread Roll with Paneer stuffing

 

Bread-roll2

It so happens many times that we have very simple ingredients and yet we discover out a very tasty dish. Those are such delightful moments that we want to repeat them as often as possible. Needless to say, we want to share too, such delicious recipes. One such is a “Shallow fried bread rolls stuffed with Paneer”. And the cherry on the cake is, they are very healthy due to shallow frying as compared to the deep fried bread rolls or cutlets.

Time: 20 mins

Serves:2-3

Ingredients:

    8 slices Brown Bread
    water to soak bread
    1 cup Paneer (Cottage cheese) crumbs
    1.5 medium onions, finely chopped
    salt to taste
    1 tsp. ajwain/ carom seeds
    1 tsp. jeera/cumin powder
    1 tsp. chaat masala powder
    some finely chopped green chilies and coriander
    2 tbsp. oil for shallow frying

Preparation:

    Mix in all the ingredients except water, bread and oil
    Take 1 slice of bread, dip in a bowl of water and remove immediately.
    Lightly squeeze to extract water but be careful that bread is still in its form.
    Place 1 spoonful paneer stuffing in the center.
    Now, make a ball by joining all the edges and give a good shape, either a round ball or a flat ball between your palms, pressing gently. Make sure, the balls are firm and remain intact.
    Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a flat nonstick pan(preferable) by spreading it all over.
    Meanwhile prepare more such bread rolls.    
    Once the oil is hot, place the rolls 1 by 1 and heat covered on a medium flame until brown from 1 side. It may take 4-5 mins.
    Carefully turn the rolls upside down and fry from another side until brown. It usually takes another 3-4 mins when covered.
    Serve with green chutney or ketchup and a hot cup of tea and Relish!! 
    

Bread-roll3

Notes:

The balls are very delicate and break if mishandled. Refrigerate the balls for 10 mins if in doubt.

Think of a different stuffing (like left-over spicy khichri) and surprise the friends over tea with shallow fried bread rolls.

Begun Bhaja – Fried Eggplant/Aubergine/Brinjal

begun bhaja

Once, I had an awesome lunch with my Bengali friend – Arpita at her house. I was expecting that time, so, I could not imagine anything more than food! And what a splendid lunch it was (Daal fry, Pulav, plain rice, begun bhaja, bhindi fry, dahi wala parwal, some jackfruit preparation…and many more to add), simple-no-so-rich-not-so-spicy, well suited to my ‘then’ taste buds yet so delicious. I became fan of “Begun Bhaja” when I came to know about its very existence that time. I left with a wish to prepare such authentic (or may not be 100%) regional foods, be it any region/culture.

And, I saw it in one of my fav food shows a few weeks back and realized, YOU don’t need to be a Bengali to prepare a begun-bhaja. And then I waited for the best shiny, firm, spotless, scar-less  baingan to arrive home to be converted into bhaja. I do it now, often.

Time: 15-20 mins (excluding marinating)

Serves: 10 slices

Ingredients:

    1 big firm, shiny eggplant – the purple variety for bharta
    2 tbsp. mustard oil (see notes) 
    1 tsp. turmeric powder
    1 tsp. garam masala (optional)
    salt to taste
    1.5 tsp. coriander powder (optional)
    1 tsp. amchoor/ dry mango powder (optional)
    1 tsp. red chili powder

Preparation:

    Wash and pat dry the baingan.
    Slice it in 1/2 inch thin roundels( 1 large eggplant gives 10-12 slices)
    Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp. oil in a bowl, mix all the spices.
    Coat this spice mix onto the slices, from both the sides.
    Keep them covered for marinating for 15-20 mins. (optional step though recommended)
    Now heat the remaining 1 tbsp. oil in a flat pan, preferably nonstick.
    once the oil is hot, arrange the slices in 1 layer, should not be overlapping with each other.
    Cook covered for 5-6 mins in a low-medium flame or until the lower side is brown.
    Flip all the slices up side down and fry the same way.
    Do the remaining slices in the same fashion.
    If required, add a few drops of more oil
    Relish with plain RICE and Daal or as finger food/starters with some chaat masala sprinkled over them!!

Begun Bhaja

 

Notes:  (tooooo many this time Smile)

Eggplants taste great with mustard oil. But you can use regular oil of your choice.

I did shallow frying but deep frying is what they usually do. I feel (it’s just me!!) that deep frying stripes off the spices coating from the eggplant slices. & aren’t  they more healthy, my way?

You can adjust the spices as blend with your taste. Marinating is something, I have not read in many of its recipes over the net but, it actually permits the spices mix reach inside the slices properly.

You can use garlic paste in the spice mix, just a hint of it, for a distinct strong flavor. Though, I am obsessed with garlics, be it a strongly flavored use or just a mild touch and I thought of using it in the marinade, I took a chance to skip and, voila, the slices were very biteful and yummylicious.

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